Avon resident Katie Ruez turned 103 on July 23, but you wouldn't know that from looking at her, talking to her or observing a day in her life.
Ruez grew up in Boston but moved to Avon in 1946. She taught seventh and eighth grade science and math at Towpath Elementary School for nine years from 1946 to 1955. After that, she raised her family and helped her husband with his Mobil service station located in Avon.
And at 103, Ruez is still active. She drives locally and is a constant and friendly face at the Avon Senior Center, where she appears several times a week to take part in Community Renewal Team lunches and other activities, like Wii bowling.
She still remembers much of her early life, too.
"I just loved the kids," Ruez said about her teaching career. "The kids were good. There weren't as many of them as there are now. The classes were larger, but there were fewer total classes. The total student body was a lot less."
Ruez has seen Avon changed a lot. She remembers before Avon High School existed and recalls a time where she said neighborhoods operated differently.
"You could let your children go out from one house to another," Ruez said. "They would go to the pond and skate...they would swim. They could do all that sort of stuff, like get on their bikes and go wherever they wanted. You would never worry about anything happening to them. It's not that way now."
In her later life, the Avon Senior Center has become an important place to her.
"I come here several days a week," Ruez said. "It's a place for friendship. You can get your meals two days a week. You have a chance to volunteer for different activities and to help out in one way or another or just to participate in [activities]."
Wii bowling is her game of choice and if the scoresheet sitting beside Ruez is any indication she is tough competition. She's even rolled a perfect game six or so times.
"I'm amazed by this technology," Ruez said. "I look at what my great-grandson does with his phone and I'm amazed. He knows more about it than I do but he's only five."
It might be just a video game, but it's one of the activities at the senior center that Ruez said is important, as seniors should make an effort to leave their home.
"If I had to sit at home, looking at four walls seven days a week, I'd die," Ruez said. "But I can still drive locally. What keeps me going is to keep doing things."
She doesn't have a secret to share when it comes to living past 100. It was just meant to be.
"It's your genes and what you do," Ruez said. "If you're gonna be 100, you're meant to be 100."
Multiple times, Ruez stopped talking to greet and speak with other frequent guests of the senior center who have nothing but high praise for their friend.
"She's amazing," says one friend who lives near Ruez. "She's absolutely amazing. She's the nicest person. Everything is wonderful about her."
And as long as she can, she'll keep coming to the Avon Senior Center to see her friends and stay active.
"I'm very lucky," Ruez said. "I feel very fortunate. You need to keep as active as you can and don't think about things that are going to happen anyway. Any activity I can get to, I do. I just love it here."